Google introduced some fantastic sharing features for its Photos app during I/O, letting you automatically send photos based on who’s in them or set your library to sync with your loved ones. What Google didn’t tell us is that it’s the start of a larger push to stay connected to your family.
Along with Photos’ new sharing abilities, Google is also adding new features to YouTube, Calendar, and Keep to help you stay in the loop. A new Family Group option will let you easily send things like shopping lists, important appointments, and, of course, photos, with the people who need them most.
Family-centric groups aren’t new to Google—we’ve seen them in action inside the Google Play store and Play Music app—but now it’s coming to more services. To get started, you’ll need to create a family group on Google with up to six people. Then, the things you share with them will be able to be edited or deleted as if they created them on their own phone.
In Keep, for example, when you share something with a family group, it will be marked with a new icon of a house with a heart inside it. In Calendars, a new Family calendar will be created, which will then be added to each person’s app. Any event created within the family calendar will be synced to all members’ phones, and like Keep, everyone will be able to create, delete, and edit events. You’ll also be able to send pictures and videos to the people in your group through the Photos app.
Calendar events can only be shared separately with people who aren’t part of your family group, but outsiders added to Keep will be able to see that you’re in a family group. All members of the family group will need to stay updated to the latest versions of the apps to properly share with each other.
Additionally, Google is also spotlighting the family groups in YouTube TV. Subscribers can share their membership with up to five family members, who will each get their own cloud DVR with unlimited space.
The new family groups feature appears to be limited to Android phones and is currently rolling out to all users. New apps of the various apps don’t seem to be required for the family groups to work, so it’s likely a server-side switch.
Why this matters: Most families are already hooked up with Google services, but family groups make it even easier to stay in touch. We’d love to see it expanded to include Google’s other apps as well, such as Drive and Android Messages, to completely streamline our lines of communication.